Bill Cornish
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Bill Cornish

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Review by Sheldon T. Nunn
04-20-2004

One of the more stimulating aspects surrounding jazz as an art form is the music's ability to stimulate the intuitive spirit that comes from within. For the most part, creativity plays a primary role in that process. What begins as an idea that is etched in sound activated energy, does somehow become a tapestry of colorful melodies and harmonic rhythms. At various times during an artist's career, he or she is able to pull every creative dynamic into a cornucopia of improvised influences. One CD in particular entitled Horizons by pianist Bill Cornish, every ingredient that allows a musician to delve into the creative spirit coming from within has definitely manifested itself.

For the most part, Horizons is a very difficult recording to classify. Not that it is irregular in approach, the CD flows aesthetically and fluidly from one style of jazz into the other. What is even more apparent is the level of imagination Bill Cornish exhibits in making this release a reality. At first glance, Bill begins his journey into sound with an expedition into synthesized harmonics. The first track Precis is definitely along those lines of influence. That tune provides a vintage view of new age stylized techno panoramics. From that point on, the CD exhibits a multi-faceted view of Bill's creative ideas, which is the real reason why classifying the recording becomes rather difficult. While listening to this release, the feel of contemporary melodies, generous grooves and improvised effervescence are very apparent. Horizons is an album that allows for spontaneity, mesmerizing harmonies and a qualitative perspective in getting the message across to his listeners. Collectively, these ingredients can be found in new age, contemporary and smooth styles. Cornish makes life interesting by including all three of these approaches in making a personalized 14-track statement.

Horizons is a nice piece of work, as well as a warm listening experience. The CD appeals to the innermost processes that allows jazz to be an artistic endeavor. With this release, Bill Cornish has painted a jazzscape into sound that is most pleasing to the ear. In approach, there is a formula that allows the intuitive spirit to come from within, which is truly the stuff of jazz in all of its wonderful flavors. Make no mistake about it, this is a true indication of a genre that has evolved and re-invented itself any number of times over the last 100 years. Bill Cornish may well be one of the primary influences carrying the genre to even greater heights during the 21st century. In the mean time, Horizons is a major step in that direction.
- JazzReview.com


Reviewed by Derick Winterberg

Some scientists say that the very landscapes around us can be converted into musical phrases. To prove this point Bill Cornish transports us into a world of musical mountains and valleys, rivers and oceans. The very cover of Horizons reflects the depth to which we are taken in this musical journey. Although many of these songs tend to be a bit on the longish side with the title track itself coming in at 7:52, it's not an undertaking that you'll regret. It will, however, help you clear your mind and soul of the drudgery of daily life. This album goes perfectly with a hot bath, candles and a glass of wine. The album opens with the gentle flutes of the song Precis which, about a minute in, quickens the pace with strong percussion and synth work. We then get into the title track, Horizons with it's native sounding rhythms and beat. As I stated before, this song clocks in at over seven minutes long but how else would you do justice to something as wide as the world's horizon itself? The Days of Summer follows with a more up-tempo beat that may actually have you boppin' your head a bit.

"Two roads diverged in a wood
And I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference"


With it's eerily provocative melody, The Road Less Traveled evokes the spirit of these words by Robert Frost. The sensation of discovering something unexpected from taking a chance in life is as good an advertisement for this album than anything any copywriter could come up with.

Having spent a year in Alaska I feel that I'm qualified to comment on the song, The Last Frontier. Again, Bill uses the sounds of Native Americans to convey the feeling of being in this unspoiled territory. The song builds in tempo as every mile through the tundras is more spectacular than the last, with the majesty of tremendous mountain ranges and the creeping giants of glaciers creating a landscape that no human mind or hand could have envisioned. On the next song Bill definately does a little swinging with the tune Ten 'Till Ten with guitar work provided by Grady McGrew. The album concludes with the song Shinto, refering to a Japanese religion that is characterized by veneration of nature spirits and ancestors. A very appropriate finish for an album that is itself a loving tribute to the discovered and undiscovered beauty of the world we currently populate.

Is Horizons a little off of the beaten path? Perhaps. Should that deter you from discovering the beauty that lies within its digital codes of 1's and 0's? Certainly not. Do yourself a favor and take a journey to the unknown and at the end of that journey you can say to yourself, "And that has made all the difference."
- The Smooth Jazz Site


Reviewed by Jennifer Layton

I usually find instrumental CDs particularly challenging to review. They involve more concentration in the listening because the music is conveying everything. There’s no vocal or lyric to help carry the message. The music is the scene, the setting, the action, the message, and the magic. Which is why I hold instrumental artists to a higher standard than others. Their job is especially challenging.

For some reason, I had an easier time of it with Bill Cornish’s Horizons. It was like a movie screen flickered to life in front of me and then expanded to pull me into it. All I have to do is describe the scenery.

It begins with “Précis,” a majestic, new age orchestra of nature that begins with a simple exchange between the sky (flute) and the Earth (bass drum). The resonating sounds stir a response in the human spirit. The stars join in as delicately chiming bells. It’s a perfect overture.

As the CD progresses, I see celestial bodies stepping in style across the sky, swirling and sliding on stocking feet. I feel summer’s warm, low, enveloping groove. On one track, “Scatterbrain,” the music actually shows a sense of humor, illustrating this disjointed state of mind with uptempo jazz and a jittery keyboard riff. In “The Road Less Traveled,” the determination in the pressing of the piano keys evokes the rockiness and heavy undergrowth of the path.

Cornish has the gift. He doesn’t need lyrics, and he already has the singers. Nature is singing through this music. Cornish does a lovely job of transcribing the magic.
- Indie-Music.com


Reviewed by Michael James
02-01-2004

Bill Cornish listed a posting on the Live365.com Jazz community forum requesting airplay for his new CD. I was one of the curious inquirers to take the trip to his website to see what it was all about. I was very impressed by a few tracks on his latest effort, Horizons, and decided to give it a review.

The first words out of my mouth upon listening to the CD's first track, "Précis" was, "Kitaro". It sounded like Cornish garnered the new age legend's influence on the track. "Days of Summer" is another great recording. "Days" sounds like a mix of Shakatak and Paul Hardcastle all rolled into one. Very smooth and not too acid jazzy! "Scatterbrain" reminds me of Bob James' early 70's releases.

This is a CD chock full of many New Age and Contemporary Jazz sounds that I think you'll enjoy. It's a very fine piece of work!!
- SoothJazzAndMore.com


reviewed by DJCOA
04-07-2005

Horizons by Bill Cornish is a hidden gem. A longtime fan of jazz, this is my testimony that beautiful music and freeform expression are alive and doing rather well. Cornish's sound is very mellow, soothing and peaceful. Initial impressions will have one comparing him to the jazz greats of old. His delivery in melody is flawless, and timing presented on tracks such as Precis and Song for Tracey will garner a smile or two.

In a world replete with commercial influence, it's comforting to witness originality and nouveau melody in one package. I applaud Bill Cornish for this marvelous work. If you're a fan of jazz or seek the eclectic in sound, lend this an ear. It easily garnered my attention and is nothing short of brilliant!
- DJCOA



Former rocker Bill Cornish takes a cue from chill fusion artists such as Deodato and Shadowfax with the adept, effervescent Days of Summer.

He manages to go George Winston one better with an infusion of drama on The Road Less Traveled. - Music.Download.com


Bill Cornish shines here with strong synth and piano work on selections that make Sojourn a truly diverse and illustrative project. It proves worthy of its boast that it’s an exercise in “cinematic storytelling” and that Cornish’s music defies easy categorization. There are strong flirts with blues, jazz, and world touches. Surprisingly for one with such rock roots (he’s a current member of a rock group known as the Thomas Connor Band and has opened for rock heavy-hitters Kansas, Steppenwolf, Joan Jett, Pat Travers, and others), no cut here hints heavily at rock at all. Believe it or not, that’s a big feat, a temptation hard to resist for many so-called crossover artists. Many have tried and have failed miserably.

So where do we go on this journey with Cornish? Well, we travel along some road to witness a Denali Sunrise in all its glory on track 5. We walk in Cairo on track 8 and witness the wails and percussion intermixed with some modern jazz sax and synth for a unique traipse. We experience the ice, the cold, the frigidity, and the wind in “Beneath the Ice”. This is a reflective, mellow, touching; oddly caressing piece that almost seeks to comfort us in the cold, in the dark. I was really quite impressed with its vividness, its imagery. Its unspoken message was loud and clear through its daunting feel. It’s followed by another gentle tune called “Fragile” with a piano lead, beckoning one to follow, if cautiously. Very serene and inviting, indeed.

Cornish blends the jazz & blues elements nicely in this melting pot of aural experiences. A unique jazz/blues/world ditty called “Maneki Neko, “New Day Dawning (Part I),” and “Olla Padrida” are great examples. Of course, the album is simply laced throughout with examples of world music at its most panoramic (to add to “Denali Sunrise/Little Susitna” and “Walking in Cairo,” there’s “Harajuku” and “The Caves By the Sea,” for example). Diverse journey? In a word, yes. Very much so and with taste and mental collages.



Tracks: Earth and Sky, Maneki Neko, New Day Dawning - Part I, New Day Dawning - Part II, Denali Sunrise/Little Susitna, Cheetah, Second Chances, Walking in Cairo, Beneath the Ice, Fragile, Olla Padrida, The Veldt, Harajuku, The Caves By The Sea



Reviewed by: Ronald Jackson - JazzReview.com


Discography

Bill Cornish - Sojourn (2007)
Zindu - Live in the Studio (2007)
Bill Cornish - Horizons (2003) - currently receiving wide play on many Internet-based stations as well as being featured on Japan's Shonan Beach FM.

Will Sumner - Coast Drive (2003)
Thomas Connor Band - Teach Peace (2002)
Bill Cornish - A Change of Seasons (2001)
Crystal - Collection (2000)
Bill Cornish - Leap of Faith (2000)
Seaholm, etc. - Passion's Little Plaything (1997)
Crystal - Crystal 3 (1993)
Crystal - Crystal (1989)
Crystal - The One For You (1985)

Photos

Bio

Bill Cornish has been composing and performing a variety of music since the early 80s. He was the keyboardist for the band Crystal from 1983-1994 with whom he opened for artists such as Kansas, Joan Jett, The Romantics and others.

He can frequently be seen performing live with bands ranging in style from jazz to rock.

In addition to his latest solo album, Sojourn, his work appears most recently on Will Sumner's jazz release Coast Drive and the Thomas Connor Band album, Teach Peace (featuring guest appearances by Grammy-winning jazz fusion violinist Jerry Goodman of The Dixie Dregs and Mahavishnu Orchestra).

Additional song samples and information are available on the website.